72 hours of outdoor adventures in Canberra
Updated 23 Oct 2023
Best hikes, popular bike rides, and paddock-to-plate restaurants in Canberra.
Canberra is a city surrounded by some of the best outdoor and nature experiences that the east coast of Australia has to offer. Discover gorges, forests, and snow-capped mountains just 45-minutes’ drive from the city at national parks and nature reserves. Nature is right on your doorstep with adventures for the whole family in the urban parks and Canberra's bike-trails that weave throughout the inner suburbs.
Arrive in Canberra and get as close as possible to the beauty of nature by heading out for a night under the stars at Cotter Campground set on the banks of the beautiful Cotter River near where it meets the Murrumbidgee River. Enjoy electric barbeques, toilets, and shower facilities.
For those who prefer a roof over their heads head to Nil Desperandum, a historic European heritage property that provides a uniquely beautiful and rustic experience for you (and your family and friends) in the Australian bush of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
For an evening of outdoor luxury, check into Cubby and Co, nestled in the vines at Mount Majura Vineyard and just a 20-minute drive from the city. Enjoy a bell tent, a glass of vino overlooking the grapevines, boardgames, and a technology-free zoneas you relax and unwind.
Head to Edgar’s Inn in Ainslie and relax in the sunny beer garden, a best-kept-secret of the inner north and only a 15-minute stroll to the city. If a light-filled lakeside pub appeals to you, The Dock on the Kingston Foreshore is for you. Enjoy a sunset session as you overlook glistening Lake Burley Griffin.
Set high on the escarpment above Bungendore, 30 kilometres north east of Canberra is the endearing Lark Hill Winery. Book a table on the deck of this remarkable venue and enjoy a beautiful view of one of Canberra's many regional vistas. There's no better way to get in touch with the bounty of the Canberra region than to enjoy their local fare and sustainable, biodynamic wine.
Kick the day off at Namadgi National Park, exploring some of its 160 kilometres of marked walking tracks or making the hike up to the unbeatable view from the top of Booroomba Rocks. Namadgi National Park is located at the northern end of the Australian Alps, and is just 45-minutes drive from the city.
While you're in the area, you won't want to miss Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, with its wandering wallabies, emus, koalas, kangaroos, reptiles and more. There are 24 marked trails at Tidbinbilla - ranging from a 15 minute walk to full-day hikes - perfect to satisfy the adventurer in everyone.
The National Arboretum Canberra is a mosaic of living forests and gardens offering breathtaking views, unique experiences, and over 44,000 rare and endangered trees across a 250-hectare site. Do as the locals do and bike or walk some of the over 20-kilometres of multi-purpose tracks that wind through the incredible forests.
Explore the Arboretum with Ngala Tours (meaning 'any tree' in the local Ngunnawal language) which offers immersive, forty-minute guided bus tours around the Arboretum to explain the origins and culture behind this incredible place.
Featuring share plates created from local and seasonal produce, Monster vegetarian restaurant is an ideal place to start your journey of culinary delights in Canberra.
For incredible views, walk, cycle or drive to the Mount Ainslie Lookout and watch the sun go down while enjoying locally crafted charcuterie from Poachers Pantry Smokehouse Restaurant and Vineyard.
At the heart of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin, surrounded by galleries, museums, cafes and parks, as well as walking and cycling paths. Do as the locals do and spend an hour walking the 'bridge to bridge' path around the lake, stopping for a coffee along the way.
Enjoy a floating picnic on a GoBoat for a tour of the lake like no other. Don a captain's hat and navigate this eco-friendly electric boat around the lake to find the perfect vista for your scenic lunch.
As your weekend comes to an end in Canberra, discover fantastic views appearing through the trees as you walk through the marked walking trails on Black Mountain, the most diverse of Canberra's nature parks which houses 100 spieces of birds, 500 species of plants, and 5,000 species of insects.
Enjoy one last view of the beautiful city by heading up to Red Hill Lookout, just south of the city centre. Red Hill offers an amazing lookout over many of our national icons and sweeping views of Canberra, combined with food and wine in it's very own eatery, Onred, you'll have a Sunday afternoon to remember.
The beauty of nature right on Canberra's doorstep makes it the perfect oasis for lovers of the great outdoors. If you're looking to reconnect with nature or get your heart racing, there's always more to see, do, and explore in Canberra.
Stromlo Forest Park
If getting active in the great outdoors is your idea of living it up, you’ll love Stromlo Forest Park, just 15-minutes' drive from the city centre. Whatever your passion – running, walking, mountain biking, cycling, or horse-riding – this world-class facility has you covered. With trails and tracks for all levels, you can also get the most out of your visit with the Mt Stromlo Shuttle Service with 11 runs per day and over 15 ways to decend the mountain.
Nature lovers flock year round to the magic of Corin Forest, a year-round alpine adventure. Surrounded by tall forests in a secluded mountain valley of the Tidbinbilla Mountain Ranges, during the winter Corin Forest provides a fun snow experience, with beginner skiing or boarding, and tobogganing. Why not build a snowman while you are there? In the summertime take a ride on the exhilerating Alpine Slide that descends 1.2km through the forest.
Just 10-minutes from the city centre, a nature oasis awaits at Weston Park. Ride your bikes on the cycle track that runs through the park or play Bocce or Pétanque on the special court. Whether you enjoy the shade beneath the trees or get out into the sun to walk or bike, it's easy to see why this is many locals' favourite spot to spend an afternoon.
Want more adventure?
Want to know the local's recommendations on the best lookouts, hikes, cycling trails and native animal spotting opportunities? This guide to the capital's great outdoors has you covered.
Find more to explore in Canberra
Keep in touch
Be among the first to discover the latest and greatest things to see and do, taste and try, explore and experience in Canberra by signing up to our newsletter.